In this beautiful short story, Barbara Kane takes us into her Summer garden. There she learns an important life lesson - how a shift in perspective can transform and restore a once vibrant and loving relationship.
After a long winter landscape of brown and black, gray and snowy white, Spring finally arrived. Eager for a splash of color, I filled my outdoor flower pots with fresh soil and a mixture of red and white begonias, yellow marigolds, dainty blue lobelia, pink impatiens, and purple petunias.
Like infants, these plants required constant care.
Throughout the season, I hauled my flowered pots indoors whenever frost or hail threatened. I dead-headed faded blossoms and lugged watering cans back and forth for daily feedings despite the nuisance of biting black flies and marauding mosquitoes. Though my aging muscles and joints protested, they quieted each time my eyes surveyed the festival of color.
Thanks to periodic rain and regular refreshment from watering cans, my ever-thirsty plants survived and thrived for several weeks. Gradually, as summer approached Autumn, some of my annuals grew spindly while others turned brown and died. Though barely noticeable in the early stages, the flower arrangements lost their vibrant beauty.
In the past, as the summer season drew to an end, I would have emptied the pots and thrown out the plants even though a little life remained. This year, however, sad that our time together was over, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. Blessed with a different perspective, now that I, too, was a bit wrinkled, droopy, and spindly with age, I chose not to dismiss my ephemeral flower babies.
Blessed with a different perspective, now that I, too, was a bit wrinkled, droopy, and spindly with age, I chose not to dismiss my ephemeral flower babies.
I examined each of the arrangements in the pots, and taking care not to harm the healthy plants, I gently removed those that were lifeless and trimmed back the shriveled leaves of those that seemed determined to survive. In doing so, I discovered lovely blooms that had been hidden underneath overgrown plants. I transplanted and combined the healthy plants into fewer pots of fresh soil, taking care not to damage their roots with my trowel.
The arrangements were transformed as if I had rotated a kaleidoscope a few degrees, and the result was equally pleasing.
Like flower arrangements planted in pots at the beginning of Spring, love, too, begins full of life, rich in color. Over seasons, subtle changes, often unnoticed, eventually occur, and love may suffer. Some relationships become stifled or rootbound. Others lack emotional warmth, and for some, life-sustaining thirsts fail to be quenched. Occasionally, major disturbances shock and damage tender roots of trust.
Even so, all is not lost. As with plants in a pot, partners can choose to reconstruct and resurrect a loving relationship, especially if the bond has brought forth more joy than hurt and still has much to offer. Examining what is worth saving, though some pain may be involved, partners must do the work of discarding and pruning detrimental behaviors, old habits, and/or poor attitudes. They must be patient and gentle with each other as they protect and nurture that which they wish to preserve.
With loving effort and care, relationships may be reconfigured. Rooted deeply in compassion, self-awareness, and gratitude, they become rich and vibrant once more.
Meet Barbara Kane
Hi, I’m Barbara!
I’ve been writing stories and musings in notebooks and journals for over thirty years. Whether writing about a past or recent experience, I recognize how I continue to gain wisdom as I grow older.
As a teacher for over fifty years, my aim has always been to help others find the spark that lights them up and helps them move forward.
At the age of 75, I’m still ‘feeling the path’ beneath my feet. I invite everyone and especially those of us on paths later in life, to continue to step out of our comfort zones. We can remain youthful in our hearts and minds by living a creative life, a curious life, and discovering gifts along the way.
Follow me here: www.feelingthepath.com
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